Editorial — 07 March 2018
Wednesday’s critical elections

A couple days away from critical national municipal elections in Belize, we find this a difficult editorial to write. On Wednesday, the Belizean people will express their opinions on some important issues, and the likelihood is that our lives as Belizeans will change significantly. Whether Belizeans vote for things to remain the same, or they vote for there to be changes, the fact is that we, as we write, do not know what Belizeans will say by means of their ballots. As we write, we do not know how Belizeans will vote, so we are writing in ignorance about important opinions which will be delivered in critical elections nationwide.

You may ask, how would our Belizean lives change significantly if Belizeans voted for things to remain the same? Well, those who are in charge of things would be confirmed in their power, so they would probably become even more reckless and arrogant. And, those who are calling for substantive changes would become discouraged.

Needless to say, a majority vote for change would have significant consequences. There would be alarm in the United Democratic Party (UDP). The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) would be energized. And, the Belizean people would regain confidence in their power to address our own destiny as a people.

Belize is a country which has experienced massive sociological and lifestyle changes since political independence in 1981. Inside the population center which used to be Belize’s capital city before 1970, the greatest change maker has been television. Television did not have to be as catastrophic in its impact on the population center as it has been, but somehow things got out of control. Outright filth entered the airwaves. When television got out of control, it probably contributed to destroying Belize’s sports, our theater, our dance, our community culture, our traditional soul and vibes as a people.

Another dangerous change maker has been gambling casinos. The casinos are great entertainment, addictive entertainment for their fans and customers. But gambling casinos are one of the main reasons Fidel Castrol made his Cuban Revolution in 1959, and why he was supported by the Cuban people. Gambling casinos bring nothing good or constructive to a society: all they bring is fun, before you become broke, and the Belizean people already knew how to have fun before Belize’s political leaders began embracing casinos in 1999.

Our belief at this newspaper has always been, from the beginning in 1969, that there was something very valuable in our country which made control of our country important to some extremely wealthy and powerful entities, like the United States government. In 1968, by way of Bethuel Webster’s Seventeen Proposals, the United States government had made it explicitly clear that they wished for Belize to become a satellite state of America’s surrogate republic in Central America – Guatemala.

In 1969, at this newspaper we believed that the reason Belize was more important than it appeared on the face of things, was because of massive petroleum and hydrocarbon deposits. But, the plot has thickened. Some people tell us of uranium deposits in Toledo, which is where the Guatemalans have the most interest. Belizeans, you owe it to yourself to do some research on uranium.

Yes, the Guatemalans will have a referendum (several times postponed) next month to decide whether they want to take their claim to Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ has been a volatile issue in Belize for several years now. The ICJ is an issue which flares up from time to time, and usually it is Belize’s Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, who throws gasoline on the fire in Belize.

But, the ICJ is not a high profile issue in Wednesday’s elections, as far as we can see. The main reason ICJ is not a big issue is because the Belizean people have been promised that there will be a re-registration of voters before the Belizean equivalent of next April’s ICJ referendum in Guatemala is held.

We return to the lead sentence of this editorial’s fourth paragraph – the great changes in Belize since 1981. We went on to mention television and gambling casinos. Perhaps the most sinister and deadly change, however, has been the creation/growth of an ultra-wealthy class of Belizeans who live at a First World level, while the vast majority of Belizeans wallow in Third World poverty. This is precisely where Guatemala was, and is, socio-economically speaking, and where Belize definitely did not need to go. If it is the case, as it sometimes appears, that there are now two Belizes, The Jewel is headed for a more serious state of civil war than the level of violence we are presently experiencing in Belize City’s Southside.

After Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price and his PUP had been in power for fifteen, twenty years, we younger Belizeans began to think he was keeping Belize out of the modern mainstream because he wanted to remain in power. There is no doubt that Mr. Price wanted to remain in power, and eventually, after he achieved his dream of political independence for Belize, the people of Belize moved him in 1984 and brought in the UDP. We Belizeans wanted to see how life was without the strict, austere Mr. Price. We were like hormone-hyped teenagers tired of parental control. Remember, the toxic television had been introduced in 1982. We got what we wanted and lost what we had.

Within the PUP today, there is a groundswell of nostalgia for Mr. Price’s way. Take San Pedro Ambergris Caye, for example. Opening up things, as we would say, has caused native San Pedro families to lose control of their lands and legacies. The Americans were just too awesomely wealthy, and once they got their foot in the door, it was all over for Belizean hegemony on La Isla Bonita. If Hon. Philip Goldson was afraid of Belizeans’ losing our country to Guatemala, Mr. Price was always afraid of Belize’s being overrun by big people, from wherever. Both Mr. Goldson and Mr. Price well knew of whom and what they were afraid. The Jewel is just too small, and we Belizeans are too few. We may have lost our country, beloved.

For sure, we have lost our discipline, our law-and-order, our morality, and our community consciousness. You remember how the Jewish people went wild in debauchery while Moses was up on the mountaintop receiving the Ten Commandments from God Almighty? Well now, look at us Belizeans today. All we think of is fun; all we seek is pleasure. We have slid back into a kind of slavery, 2018 style. Some big people have us by our noses. The rings in our noses are televisions, casinos, smartphones, video games, porn movies, experimental/deviant sex, and, of course, drugs and alcohol. Hip, hip, hurray.

What has set in amongst Belizeans, is a kind of insanity. This is what occurred in peaceful Maskall – an act of total, frigging insanity. What could the perpetrator possibly have been thinking? That’s what we’re saying. Expand the lens to include the behavior of our Belizean society as a whole, and you will agree that we as a people are doing a whole lot of crazy things. We are not innocent, because we are adults. But this insanity is induced: it is induced by men and agencies whose greed and evil Belizeans could not have imagined. Mr. Price had travelled in America with Mr. Turton in the 1930s and 1940s: he had seen some of the greed and some of the evil.

As we said at the beginning, this was a difficult editorial to write. We’ve shared with you some thoughts which we hope will set you yourself to thinking. After the people of Belize express themselves on Wednesday, then we can examine and analyze what the people are saying to us. We Belizeans must be grateful for another democratic opportunity to express ourselves. Be strong.

Power to the people.

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Deshawn Swasey

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